The Sounds and Sights of International Week
By Johana Bhuiyan ‘13
Music and the smell of exotic food filled the post-Hurricane Sandy air on Lehigh’s campus during its 10th annual International Week. The Global Union in cooperation with several other on-campus organizations hosted a variety of cultural and educational events throughout the week, many of which incorporated music and dance.
One such event, Introduction to Argentine Tango held in Zoellner Arts Center, taught attendees the primary steps to the Argentine Tango. Graduate student and president of the Argentina Tango Club, Madhu Kallam ’10, ran the class.
“The event went very well,” Kallam said. “We brought in a renowned dancer from Philadelphia to teach our students basic steps.”
Kallam said he thinks that music and art play a particularly important role in bridging cultures.
“They are the easiest and the most powerful mediums to overcome the language barriers.”
The week also included its customary FUSION show, which stands for Fostering Unity Staged In One Night.
Erica Takahashi ’14 said this year’s event had the best turnout as of yet. She’s a member of the Asian Cultural Society, which sponsored the event with the Chinese Culture Club, Black Student Union and Chinese Student Scholar Association.
“I think the show was a great success; everybody seemed to enjoy it,” Takahashi said.
Takahashi also emphasized their efforts to increase the variety of performers at the event.
“We aimed for a more diverse list of performers this year, adding Dance Team, Chinese Folk Dance, and Dancin’ to the program that also included LU’s Finest, Latin Dance Club, Belly Dancing, Leela, Qi Pao Show, and LUnatix,” she said.
Takahashi said that she thinks this event provides a different platform to celebrate diversity.
“International Week is celebrated in various ways, with movies, food and speakers, and our way of doing so was through performances,” Takahashi began. “We hope that we were able to provide a different way to celebrate diversity and culture to add to the Global Union's International Week.”
Some students who attended the show said they were thoroughly impressed with the turnout given the circumstances.
“I thought that this International Week was going to be a bust because of Hurricane Sandy, but everyone managed to pull through,” said Karina Medina ’13. “Even though it was a little full and I had to stand through part of it, it was totally worth it and really fun to watch people dance different cultural dances.”
The Diwali, or festival of lights, event is held annually during International Week. The Festival of Lights is generally a five-day Indian festival that originally marked the end of the harvest. Groups of students dressed in colorful matching costumes performed dance routines to traditional Bollywood songs.
Medina said she feels musical performances are easily the best way to teach people about different cultures.
“Music and art are universal,” she said. “A guitar is a guitar in every country.”
December 10, 2012